Friday 19th March, Logrono
TITIN III – MERINO II beat BERASALUZE VIII – ALBISU 22-14
The stage was set in Logrono for the local boys Titin and Merino to strike out for the semi-finals and they duly obliged, defeating a pair who had hoped to seize such a prize for themselves. Berasaluze and Albisu, despite their disappointing inability to be competitive here, are still right in the hunt but must wait for the final week to try again after crumbling in front of the baying Riojan masses who created a splendid atmosphere at Adarraga.
The game did not start as the home team might have wished, with two errors in a row from Merino. However, any suggestion that he had failed to settle was swiftly shouted down in the third point where he astounded Berasaluze by firing in a txoko winner. From this juncture, the tide began to turn and a raft of mistakes, notably from Albisu, combined with the discipline of Merino and the potency of Titin started to tell. Berasaluze showed glimpses of what he can do with a smattering of impressive points, but it was essentially one way traffic all the way to 15-5. When the game seemed up, something stirred in Berasaluze and he won his pair six points in a row, five from outright winners and one from an error enforced upon Merino. He was a different player in this spell and it was Titin who was forced to fight for scraps. However, any panic on the part of the Riojans was ameliorated when Albisu handed the serve back them by hitting low. Despite an error apiece from the leading pair, Berasaluze was unable to restore his blistering momentum and five unnecesasary errors on the bounce from the Asegarce duo followed by Titin’s third sakez winner propelled the game’s dominators into the semi-finals. As they embraced with delight in front of a rapturous home crowd, Berasaluze and Albisu were forced to rue a chance missed.
Scoring sequence: 0-2, 1-2, 2-2, 3-2, 3-3, 10-3, 10-4, 12-4, 12-5, 15-5, 15-6, 15-11, 16-11, 16-12, 17-12, 17-14, 22-14.
Winners/errors: Titin 10/0, Berasaluze 10/2, Merino 3/2, Albisu 2/7
Match time: 1:08.09 with 18:25 of actual play
Balls hit: 391